Louis Nowra Louis Nowra i(A34108 works by) (birth name: Louis Doyle)
Born: Established: 1950 Melbourne, Victoria, ;
Gender: Male
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Louis Nowra was born in Melbourne and studied at La Trobe University without taking a degree. Nowra worked at several jobs and lived an itinerant lifestyle until the mid-1970s when his plays began to attract attention. Nowra is best known for the many plays that he has written since that time, but he has also written film scripts (including adaptations of his own work), plays for radio and television, novels and autobiography. Nowra has held administrative positions in several theatre companies, directed a number of productions and translated several plays for the Australian stage. In collaboration with his first wife, Sarah de Jong, he has written the music for his plays and other productions. Nowra's work has won a number of awards and Nowra has been a writer-in-residence and lecturer at the University of Queensland.

Nowra's plays exhibit his interest in black comedy and gothic themes that explore fundamental issues in human individuality. Several of his plays can be seen as explorations of the mind and its relationship with language, but Nowra has also extended that to explore the effects of imperialism and oppression. In the early 1990s several of his plays employed autobiographical elements that have been further explored in his autobiography, The Twelfth of Never (2000). While many of his plays are set outside Australia, the themes he explores can be easily applied to the Australian condition. This is demonstrated in his widely admired treatment of Aboriginal issues in plays like Radiance and Crow which extend many of the themes of his earlier plays.

Nowra also wrote the non-fiction work The Cheated (1979), consisting of a series of news items about bizarre incidents, and contributed to Edge of the Earth : Stories and Images from the Antipodes (1990) which traces the development of New Zealand film-maker Vincent Ward. In 2007 Pluto Press published his Bad Dreaming: Aboriginal Men's Violence Against Women and Children as part of the Australia NOW series.

Louis Nowra was awarded an honorary doctorate by Griffith University on 26 March 1996.

Most Referenced Works


  • Veronica Kelly's work The Theatre of Louis Nowra examines, in part (especially pp. 101-109, 120-122, 136-138 and 139-140), Nowra's characteristic survivor 'Creatures' and discusses Nowra's use of the Frankenstein myth in these historically deformed and reformed characters.
  • A radio play attributed to Nowra, 'Moon of the Exploding Trees' is mentioned in the author's biography in The Language of the Gods (piii of program inserted in centre of book), and on the web site of Radio National's 'Airplay', which states that it was performed on CBC Radio, Canada in 1995. John Hillel, in 'The Radio Drama of Louis Nowra' (in Australasian Drama Studies, Number 30, April 1997), states that the work was never broadcast because of concerns about its content. The script for this work, however, has not been traced beyond these references.

Awards for Works

Prince of Afghanistan 2015 single work novel young adult

'Black parachutes fall from the sky: young soldiers - and a dog - on a rescue mission in a remote part of Afghanistan...But the mission ends in chaos, and Mark and Prince embark on a perilous journey through enemy territory. They depend on each other to survive...A dramatic and powerful story of war and the bond between a young soldier and a dog, from the acclaimed author of Into That Forest...' (Publication summary)

2016 shortlisted Indie Awards Young Adult
Kings Cross : A Biography 2013 single work biography

'Louis Nowra burrows beneath the sensationalist Underbelly ‘sex and sin’ narrative, revealing stories and a cast of characters – some household names others little-known - that not even a writer could conjure up.

'Kings Cross is a no-holds barred place, where backpackers, prostitutes, strippers, chefs, mad men, poets, beggars, booksellers, doctors, gangsters, sailors, musicians, drug traffickers, eccentrics, judges and artists live side by side. Part flaneur, part historian and part eyewitness, Louis Nowra is the best possible guide to a place both real, and a state of mind.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2014 winner 'The Nib': CAL Waverley Library Award for Literature The Alex Buzo Shortlist Prize
2014 shortlisted 'The Nib': CAL Waverley Library Award for Literature
Into That Forest 2012 single work novel young adult 'Me name be Hannah O'Brien and I be seventy-six years old. Me first thing is an apology - me language is bad cos I lost it and had to learn it again. But here's me story and I be glad to tell it before I hop the twig. So begins this extraordinary novel, which will transport you to Australia's wild frontier and stay in your mind long after you've finished reading.' (Publisher's blurb)
2015 longlisted Tasmania Book Prizes Tasmania Book Prize
2014 shortlisted Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature Young Adult Fiction
2013 shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature
2012 shortlisted Aurealis Awards for Excellence in Australian Speculative Fiction Young Adult Division Best Novel
Last amended 29 Oct 2015 10:54:10
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